- - Friday, March 31, 2023

Another shooting at a school. Everyone is asking why. A community mourns. Cue the knee-jerk call for gun control between quips about ice cream from President Biden.

Yet here again, few want to see the culprit hiding in plain sight and do something about it. We have willingly surrendered our nation to malign forces who conned millions into believing that digital convenience and government bureaucracies would create a better America.

It’s not the guns. It’s the phones. It’s the platforms that are the opiate of our times. Today’s young people spend an average of six to nine hours per day in front of a screen. But from that digital pulpit comes not a message about love and salvation but decadence and malevolent perversions of freedom.

This week’s Wall Street Journal/NBC poll proves that American society is beginning to crack at its foundations. The numbers are shocking. Since 1998, those who identified patriotism as “very important” have dropped from 70% to 38%. Religion cratered from 62% to 39%. The importance of having children declined sharply, from 59% to 30%. Community involvement went from 47% to 27%.

The shift demonstrates conclusively that the political left is winning the war for the future of this country. Separate people from their God, their families, their communities, and the common bond of national identity, and they become ripe for domination.

There is a difference between American individualism and nihilistic isolation. The isolated person is weaker. An American independent from the government is stronger. The left is blurring those lines every day to devastating effect. Crime, mental illness, dependency, violence and division are just a few of the results. 

The plot is simple. Convince people that the endorphin rush and gratification from digital stimuli are enough to lead them to fulfillment.

Virtual reality and other digital salves will make it worse, allowing people to self-medicate by creating alternate environments detached from the physical world. Artificial intelligence will rob people, young and old, of their mental acuity and their dignity by reducing the need for human labor.

Socialization and community will continue to fade, leading to a decline in not only self-identity but also national, religious and racial identity. Isolation will continue to set in.

The experiences that give life its flavor and excitement will continue to decline. The fresh air of a mountain hike. The exhilaration of a live sporting event. The feast for the senses that is a music performance.

The sharp rise in mental health issues, including transgenderism, depression and suicide, since the beginning of the social media era, especially among young people, is not a coincidence.

The moral relativist argument that you can make your own reality separate and apart from science, nature and basic human social structures is anarchic and will lead to societal collapse. As Americans, we play into this madness and enable it when we allow ourselves to be molded by the same malign forces that are responsible for the rage, hate, division and moral decline all around us.

Conservatives in America are not responsible for these growing fissures. They’re not pushing for books depicting oral sex and pornography in elementary school libraries or pulling Black youth away from their Christian roots. Conservatives aren’t attacking Judeo-Christian values, legalizing drugs and eroding parental rights, nor do they control the information flow that reaches the phones and tablets of Americans every day.

They’re not cheapening life by ignoring mass murder in our cities, driving abortion on demand, or promoting euthanasia. They’re not responsible for the cancel culture that is a precursor to a social credit system akin to that of China.

But it is not enough to be on the right side or pray for a reversal of this decline.

It’s not enough to defend gun rights in the face of a school shooting. There must be an aggressive effort to pull back from the phones and the screen time that the left uses to mold the dystopian future.

It means parenting again. It means sitting down at the kitchen table and telling children that men can’t get pregnant and that trans is a mental illness. It’s about understanding that nothing is free and that hard work is the only thing that will build your wealth and independence.

It’s about living with the understanding that powerful forces here and from places like China want chaos and isolation to exact greater control over our lives.

It means uniting again to shore up the foundations of society as if our lives depend on it — because they do. That’s the way you reduce school shootings and other senseless violence.

• Tom Basile is the host of “America Right Now” on Newsmax TV, an author and a former Bush administration official.

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